The three parliamentary constituencies for Lewisham are set to change. Their boundaries have been redrawn and final proposals by the Boundary Commission for England have been published on 27th June 2023.
The Boundary Commissions’ role is now complete. Their final recommendations will be implemented automatically. This is done by the Government submitting a single draft Order in Council to the Privy Council for approval by the King. Neither Parliament nor the Government can alter the Commissions’ recommendations.
The new boundaries will be used at the next general election after the Order in Council has been approved.
However, by-elections before the general election use the existing boundaries and until the approval is given, if a general election is called, this will be on the existing boundaries.
Secretary to the Commission, Tim Bowden, said: ‘The recommendations we have published today mark the end of a thorough and consultative process to build the new map of Parliamentary constituencies. We have taken into account over 60,000 public comments, travelled the country, and heard many passionate views about how best to reflect local community ties in our recommendations. We are confident that our final recommendations are the best reflection of the statutory rules Parliament has set us. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has participated in the 2023 Boundary Review.’
The Boundary Commission have said that London currently has 73 constituencies. Of these constituencies, 20 have electorates within the permitted range [no smaller than 69,724 and no larger than 77,062]. The electorates of 20 constituencies were below the permitted range, while the electorates of 33 constituencies were above. Our proposals increase the number of constituencies in the region by two, to 75.
The changes to Lewisham’s parliamentary constituencies have been explained by the BCE when they say:
“When exploring sub-region arrangements for South London, we noted that it would be possible to consider South Central and South West London separately. However, our investigations showed that it was difficult to create a practicable scheme of constituencies in a stand-alone South Central sub-region without needing to split multiple wards. We therefore decided to treat the South Central and South West areas together to form a single sub-region consisting of the boroughs of: Croydon; Kingston upon Thames; Lambeth; Lewisham; Merton; Richmond upon Thames (that part which lies on the south side of the River Thames); Southwark; Sutton; and Wandsworth. This sub-region has an electorate of 1,538,390, resulting in a mathematical entitlement to 20.95 constituencies. We therefore allocated 21 constituencies to this sub-region.“
This has triggered a number of considerations and the final maps for the parliamentary boundaries covering the London Borough of Lewisham have been published. These have been named Lewisham East, Lewisham North, Lewisham West & East Dulwich.
Lewisham East consists of seven Lewisham wards, notably Bellingham that was previously in Lewisham West for many years, moves over to join Catford South, Downham, Grove Park, Hither Green, Lee Green & Grove Park.
Lewisham North consists of eight Lewisham wards, notably Blackheath that was previously in Lewisham East for many years, joining Brockley, Deptford, Evelyn, Ladywell, Lewisham Central, New Cross Gate and Telegraph Hill. Sadly, the historic name of Deptford is no longer included in a parliamentary seat. Interestingly, there has been a Member of Parliament for Deptford or Lewisham, Deptford since 1885. In 1906 – a significant date in the history of the Labour Party – trade unionist, Charles W. Bowerman was elected as the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Deptford, a post he retained until the 1931 general election and he lost to the conservatives, however, this was a one term defeat and since 1935 the Labour Party have retained the seat.
Lewisham West & East Dulwich consists of four Lewisham wards, Crofton Park, Forest Hill, Perry Vale and Sydenham with three Southwark wards these are Dulwich Hill, Goose Green and Peckham Rye.
Psephologists expect that these three seats will return Labour Party MPs. The loss of Penge from the current Lewisham West & Penge now incorporated in the new Beckenham & Penge parliamentary constituency means that this becomes a battleground between the Labour Party and the Conservatives. Time will tell who will win.
Charles W. Bowerman, veteran of the printing trade union movement. Delegate to the founding conference of the Labour party in 1900 and Labour MP for Deptford for almost 30 years. President of the Trades Union Congress.
Photo courtesy of Islington Council.